Sunday, June 15, 2008

Robogames 2008 review.

Look - I'm not going to bitch (much) about the games this year. They've gotten my money 3 years in a row. Chances are... I'll be there next year. This is why.

It is more important for me to see how robotics are being marketed and where the industry might be headed. I can go to the same event year after year, and the focus is always different. It is somewhat more interesting to see the vacillation of the industry to gain a foothold. As meager as those footholds are.

This year the Robogames seemed all about robot kits. With a big focus on walking robots. Which is actually what I was most interested in anyway. But, also what depressed me the most. On one hand - they have made them look much more marketable. But act much less functional.

If you want a toy to wave and make hand gestures. Well, they have you covered. If you are actually interested in something that doesn't spend most of the time on its back. Move along people. Nothing to see here. There really has been very little progress from a year ago.

These bots were saying "hey - first you fall over, then I'll fall over". I swear, they spent very little time on their feet. And for 300 - 700 bucks.. I'd think people might sort of like that.

Thankfully children have a huge capacity to right things that have fallen over. They never seem to get bored with it.

Robotis seemed to be the biggest vendor at the show. The company confused me. The toy bots seemed to be geared for a 5 year old, but to be able to put the kits together - it seemed like you needed to be at least 12.

The sad thing is that Hitec is there every year. They do walking really well, but they have all but given up marketing their product. They normally have one guy, and you are lucky if they have one bot running. If they hadn't impressed me so much at RoboNexus years ago - honestly, I wouldn't have much good to say about them.

I thought I had pictures of the RoboNexus demonstration on the blog. Until I find them, you will just have to watch the You Tube video here.

They did have something new this year though. I guess they are trying to capitalize on the theory everyone wants a remote presence robot. So tons of robots now have mini cameras in them. The product from Hitec was no exception.

Stuff for little kids seemed to be a big focus. This was also from Robotis.

None of the people who supplied any of the loosely categorized robotic art were there this year. And, honestly this was the best I got.

Now, the art stuff isn't my thing - but integrated circuit boards with blinky lights. Really? That's the best they got? And... I'm ... into ... blinky lights! I can see all that stuff at flea markets. So I didn't even take any pictures.

These guys are a hold over from Maker Faire. But - I like balls.

I'm not really sure what this thing is, but I've seen a a few times. It does have a description. But ya'all know I'm illiterate.

Now onto what the Robogames are really all about - the battlebots. I'd long since given up on trying to get photo's of them. Trying to take pictures through scratched up lexan doesn't make for very useful pictures. It might have been better this year because they stated a photo policy on the entry door about the use of flash. Which I loved. More places should post their photo policy. But, the battlebots were the main draw this year, and I couldn't get close. They actually had much more people in the stands than the years I've attended. Good for them. You can see last year here.

Oh! I almost forgot the Star Wars guys.

1 comment: